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Thread: Real World Tech camera advice requested

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    Real World Tech camera advice requested

    Ok, I've read all the specifications, listened to a lot of great advice on these threads, and I'm ready to buy. As a landscape photographer with lots of 4x5 and MFDSLR experience currently using a DF and IQ180, I'm looking for better performance in the 28mm-45mm lens range than I get with Phase One options. I have narrowed the camera choices to Alpa STC or Cambo RS and the initial lens choice to either the 40 HR-W or SK 43XL. Rise / Fall / Shift are important features. What is the actual shift range that theses lenses allow, given that their Image Circles are spec'd at 90mm and 110mm respectively? How useful is it that the Cambo can Rise 25mm vs 18mm for the Alpa or is actual use restricted to less by these and other lenses? What is the downside of pan-stitching around the nodal point (with camera level) vs flat stitching? It seems like 18mm shift isn't very much compared to the 40x54mm sensor size, not to mention all the color shift, loss of sharpness issues that shifting seems to create. With respect to using Tilt for DOF, it seems like focus bracketing would be a lot easier than trying to nail front and rear focus points with Live View or shoot and review. I have no real experience here, so I am anxious to hear your opinions on this. What are your recommendations for final camera and lens choices? Any other advice is also welcome. Thanks for the help.

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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
    Ok, I've read all the specifications, listened to a lot of great advice on these threads, and I'm ready to buy. As a landscape photographer with lots of 4x5 and MFDSLR experience currently using a DF and IQ180, I'm looking for better performance in the 28mm-45mm lens range than I get with Phase One options. I have narrowed the camera choices to Alpa STC or Cambo RS ... What is the actual shift range that theses lenses allow, ... What is the downside of pan-stitching around the nodal point (with camera level) vs flat stitching? ... With respect to using Tilt for DOF, it seems like focus bracketing would be a lot easier than trying to nail front and rear focus points with Live View or shoot and review.... I have narrowed the camera choices to Alpa STC or Cambo RS and the initial lens choice to either the 40 HR-W or SK 43XL. Rise / Fall / Shift are important features. ...
    I can't answer all of your questions, but I'll tell you the direction I went, as I had the same goals. When I bought the P65+/645DF, I was told right up front that I wouldn't be happy going wider than 45mm on the DF body/Lenses. (for Landscape work) I accepted that and got the 45mm/80mm/150mm, knowing that I would need to find a different solution for super-wide, which my style requires. Of course the beauty of a modular DB is in being able to do this.

    I bought the Cambo RS Wide and the 35mm Schneider XL. The one issue with this lens is that you can't mount the Tilt/Swing panel as there isn't enough room. My solution is focus bracketing and Helicon Focus. Admittedly I've just started with this, but my first experiment was perfect. I used LCC correction and actually got away with two brackets.

    I read in another thread here that we shouldn't' go much beyond 10-12mm shift on the Cambo. I haven't had a chance to inspect some shots I did that went beyond that.

    I shot with Guy Mancuso, who was using Live View on his IQ160 to check focus. We were also using a Leica Disto to measure distances. I have to say that my shots were perfectly in focus, so even though I would have preferred Live View, in the end my estimates on distances (at F11 mind you) were fine.

    The build quality of the Cambo seems impressive to me. I like the placement of the gears for shift.

    Not sure what you mean by the downside of pan-stitching around the nodal point. Maybe you meant the downside of NOT using the Nodal point? I've gotten away with stitching without a nodal slide, so I'm not sure how critical it is.

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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    I have been stitching for about 6 years now (~80% of my work is stitched). Started with Canon 1ds II -> 1ds III -> 5DII and used nodal point stitching with the Really Right Stuff pano multi-row equipment, usually 2x3 or 2x4 with 50mm, sometimes 85mm. Then moved to a P40+ then P65+ and now have the IQ180 all on a Cambo RS. Been on the Cambo for about 2 years now. Started with all SK glass 47mm, 72mm, and 90mm. Due to reduced IC usability on the 47 with the IQ180, I now have the Rodie 55mm and the SK 90mm (47 and 72 have new homes). My typical process is a 2x2 stitch with a 15mm slide around the image circle (15mm down/right, 15mm down/left, 15mm up/left and 15mm up/right), then repeat for LCC (the movement stops on the Cambo help a lot here). With the Rodie, I can go 20mm down and 10mm up (still 15mm left and right) and 25 down and 5 up is usable but soft in the extreme areas, depending on the content, this can be acceptable. 2x2x15mm stitch with the 55mm results in an angle of view similar to a 31mm (20mm in 35mm terms). With the 90mm, 15mm up and down, left and right, you'll have the corners cut off from the internal plate. I will crop this off or fix in PS depending the composition and how fixable (usually clone or warp) the corners are. The 2x2x15mm's are horizontally captured and result in roughly a 5/6 aspect ratio (which I love:) and about 16000 pixels on the long side. If interested, Flickr: Alan W George's Photostream. The image titles reveal the camera and the number of images in the final. The two shot images are usually hand held "nodal point" stitches. Some are single shot.

    Anyway, good luck. I hope you have a BIG printer:)

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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    I only have experience with the Arca Swiss RM3Di and the Hasselblad 50 back. I have 3 lenses 43mm,72mm and 120mm. I have mostly used in the 43mm in the short amount of time I have had the camera and most of the images have been six shots stitched with a 10 degree shift in both directions and a 15 degree either rise or fall. All of the images have stitched perfectly in photoshop without any evidence of soft focus. I can't imagine any combination of lens, back and tech camera more superior than this one.

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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    Why not Arca Swiss?

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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    I use the Cambo WRS with SK35, 43, 60 and 150 lenses. You can always shift beyond SK's officially-stated IC's. However, if you start to push the WA lenses beyond their limits then you will start to get softness and very strong colour casts that get harder to remove (logical). Although all my lenses are excellent, the SK35 is the least forgiving in this regard.

    I have no problem with any of these lenses if I stick within the official IC's. Before the IQ180 it seemed like everyone was shifting more than the official IC's and getting away with it in terms of colour cast. If you go with an 80MP sensor then you will have to play by the rules a little bit more when it comes to shifting. The new, improved technical camera LCC tool in C1 has also helped.

    The SK lenses have a softer transition to the edge of the IC but at the expense of resolution. I don't stitch (doesn't appeal to me) and I shoot architecture so most of the time when I shift I am gaining sky, which doesn't need ultimate resolution anyway.

    On another note, I haven't experienced the same issues as others with my SK35 and IQ180, as long as I stick within the official IC and shift only 1012mm. I have occasionally shifted 15mm and did some extra work in post, but for skies at the top of the frame.

    As a comparison, from what I understand, the WA Rodenstocks are sharp to the edges of the IC, have more complex distortion (removable in software), smaller IC's with abrupt cut-offs, less prominent colour cast (although a LCC is still necessary). Caveat: I haven't tested the Rodenstocks, I just went straight for the SK's because of their lower distortion.

    See this test by Capture Integration using WA SK lenses and IQ180:
    Lens :: Capture Integration Medium Format Digital Back Sales & Rental and Other Professional Photographic Equipment

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    I have the IQ180, an Alpa STC with the 43xl, 70hr, 100hr and sk150. About 1 month ago I swapped the 43xl for the 40hr with my dealer for about a week. They are both really good lenses. I wish Schneider would release the center filter for the 43xl. I believe unless you are shooting a lot of architecture in the landscape, the 40hr is the better option. I love the 43 because it is small, but that is about all it has going for it.

    I think the 40hr IC is a bit understated, and with the 43, after about 10-12mm the LCC can't fix it with the IQ180. If it had a center filter I bet you could get out to maybe 15mm because the software would not have to work so hard.

    I don't know if I am going to switch. I really like how small the 43xl is. But the 40hr sure is a nice lens.

    Regarding the cameras, they are both fine. I love the STC set up; it is just perfect for me. But I would try them both. I agree with your comment about focus bracketing. It is actually quite fast in the field. Note that Alpa is supposed to be announcing some solution to wide angle tilt in the "near" future.

    I really enjoy the ability to stitch by moving the back. There is no guessing about what will end up being cropped out because of perspective changes. You are of course limited to the IC. The thing Jack and others have pointed out is how often you can (should?) use rise and/or fall instead of tilting the camera up or down. I think it can really make a big difference in the image. Whenever I'm lazy and just tilt the camera, I curse myself afterwords at the computer!

    Dave

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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    I would consider dumping the 80 megapixel back - before accepting ANY compromises regarding choice of lenses on tech cameras.

    the notion that the Schneider 35digitar is a fatally flawed lens is just one example of hilariousness promoted on this forum. Maybe the better way to look at things is to ask yourself perhaps the issue is the back and not the lens.

    Then again I am weird - if i wish to use a long focal length - I just stick with Hy6 or Leica S2.

    Leaving movements aside - for me the point of a tech camera is the use of wide angles - not made for SLR cameras.<......... full stop


    Pete
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    Re: Real World Tech camera advice requested

    I have shot the SK 43 and own the HR 40 and shoot it on my Arca over the IQ180. The SK 43 is really a 45, and has a tiny bit larger IC; the HR 40 is a 40 with a wider FoV and slightly smaller IC. The net result on coverage is that when maximally shifted and stitched, they cover very, very close to identical FOV areas -- the difference is insignificant.

    Other less tangible differences are, the Rodie is larger, about 2x as big and maybe 2x heavier than the SK, and hence also easier for fat fingers to adjust and operate; so smaller lighter and harder/slower to operate against larger, heavier and easier/faster to operate. SK has a much smaller front element to filter, and hence requires more step rings to get to my preferred standard of 77mm filters; or obviously you could build a smaller set of standard filters with SK lenses. To my eyes the SK tends to render a bit smoother while the HR is more clinically sharp, though these are relatively subtle differences -- though from an empirical POV, the HR has better MTF stats.

    LCC corrections with both are similar on the IQ180, meaning both color shift significantly when shifted and/or tilted. And though the HR being retro-focus (why it's bigger and heavier) is slighty less overall shifts, it is still significant enough you'll want to do an LCC (with either) even when zeroed.

    End of day, you cannot go wrong with either.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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